Friday, May 24, 2013

Welcoming Clients with Chronic Conditions to Exercise

The IDEA Health and Fitness Association published my letter this month in their Fitness Journal, in it I am talking about simplifying exercise as much as possible to hook people in at the beginning - especially if they have barriers to exercise arising from illness. Here is my letter.

Welcoming Clients With Chronic Conditions to Exercise

I just [completed] a continuing education credit on the IDEA website. [I was offered] a free education product and I picked “Training Strategies for Clients With Chronic Conditions.” This was so good! Quite often people who have had cancer present with diabetes and heart disease, etc. This was such a great overview with suggested ways of dealing with these clients.

I think it is so important that as fitness professionals we do as the instructor in the video suggests: Reduce the barriers to exercise as much as possible for vulnerable populations by not emphasizing anything too prescribed, structured or complicated from the outset. We must encourage and simplify, making it as easy as it can be to hook people into any sort of activity plan. I am going to take more of these courses online now.
Vanessa Reid
Certified Personal Trainer and Breast Cancer Specialist
Nice, France

Whether we have a trainer, a coach or we must teach exercise to ourselves - I would say when in doubt,low on energy and motivation, keep it very simple and remember every bit of movement counts.
( If in pain do consult your Doctor before pushing on with a prescribed exercise program )

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 13, 2013

Donal Walsh and the letter I was forwarded written by him in 2011

A beautiful, eloquent and special young man ran out of time today in his battle with this disease - cancer. A disease many of us have been affected by and have come to know and hate, as it takes so many from us, and we also watch others we know and care about endure, live with it, and through it.

I have copied and pasted below the entire transcript of Donal's letter he wrote in the summer of 2011, this letter was forwarded to me by the LIVESTRONG foundation, as at the time I was their volunteer representative in Ireland. To say I was blown away by the eloquence and passion of this young mans words is an understatement.

I can truly say that this was the moment, after reading his letter that I became a lot more engaged in the cancer community and began to educate myself in becoming an advocate. I also started to become a lot more involved in my work with LIVESTRONG.

I was also incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to exchange messages and hear the thoughts of this exceptional young man over the next year or so. I did not speak with Donal as much during the last few months, and I found myself today having the opportunity to learn so much more about what he had been involved with before we lost him yesterday. Again I found myself today blown away by the words this young man was able to express, and in so doing reach out and touch others.

So many of us are trying to climb our own mountains in life but I have truly never heard it expressed in the way Donal did in a piece I read by him earlier today. We lost not only a beautiful soul and advocate but a gifted writer as well.

I think for all of us involved in both the LIVESTRONG community and the wider cancer community, we can see that Donals letter below really sums up our work and the mission we are all trying to carry out - to improve the treatment and quality of life for all cancer survivors and their families.

I will let his words speak now....

Dear Mrs. President
I'm Donal Walsh, an Irish fifteen year old, who survived cancer when I was twelve. I need you to listen to what I have to say about fighting cancer.

When someone hears they have cancer their life changes, everything they do has to stop or evolve in some way in order to cope with this disease that threatens their very existence. In my case; I couldn't go to school, I couldn't go to public places, I couldn't eat, I can't play field sports and I'll never be able to run again. People stared at me like I was a goldfish. All of this was bad enough but I still needed chemo for a year, I still needed seven operations and a prosthetic knee and thigh bone.
There are people out there who go through a lot worse than what I did. People get diagnosed and can't afford treatment in some countries, people get diagnosed and have no support from family or friends and mothers and fathers have to watch their children suffer and in some cases pass away. In places like LIVESTRONG they work so hard day in and day out to help these people cope with cancer, they work at making people aware of cancer and they help people fight cancer.
At the U.N, summit for Non-Communicable Diseases in New York in September, you can help people afford their treatment, you can save mothers and fathers the pain of watching their children suffer and die and you can save people the pain of chemo and the mental burden brought with the disease. If you make cancer a Global Priority you will be changing the world for the better.

In 2001 AIDs was made a global priority and incidences of the disease decreased and life expectancy increased. Imagine if this was cancer, you could make the 36 million people and their families who have to live with this disease smile. Just like when they are diagnosed their lives could change. But this time for the better. If you changed 36 million lives you would have changed the world.

Please contact me as soon as possible, I would love to meet with you or U.N. representatives who can help me and the people at LIVESTRONG achieve our goal and overcome this crisis of cancer. So many people don't care, they don't care about the hundreds of millions of people who have been affected by this, they don't care about changing the world and this is wrong. I Have e-mailed the Taoiseach and the Irish permanent embassdor to the U.N. Ms. Anderson and they have said they would take it under consideration. Please don't do the same, please do something about it. Don't ignore me like so many others have.

Yours Sincerely,
Donal Walsh

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rue Henri Cordier,Nice,France

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Health Care Social Media Buddy Mentoring Chat 2 Tomorrow 12 CT

"The role of mainstream media will primarily become one of an aggregator, custodian and verifier, a credibility filter that sifts through all of this data and highlights what is and is not worth reading, understanding and trusting…” ( p.62, The New Digital Age,)

This makes me think that  in the same way these few lines are discussing the way traditional journalism must become the “aggregators” and “validators” so do not social media leaders?  Twitter links to many traditional news outlets, and other extremely solid sources of information. Therefore social media leaders must chart a course for populations that need to be lead to rich and useful information.

Health care social media leaders can help patient’s access useful discussions, forums, lists, blogs, Doctors, important organisations and much more, and therefore we need to keep finding top notch educators, navigators and curators to help build those bridges for people too access quality information amidst the noise.
If traditional media is being asked to find new ways, so does new media need to find leaders who operate just like traditional media; they utilize the ultimate modern landscape but put traditional methods to use within it?

Please join @Shumilne @JBBC @randy_chalfant @naveen101 and others for Health Care Social Media Buddy Mentoring Chat 2 tomorrow at 12 CT, 11 MT, 10 PT, 1pm ET, 6pm GMT 
Check out the hashtag #hcsmbm and see what is going on  :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Health Care Social Media Buddy Mentoring

We are kicking off with Tweet chat number 2 on " Health Care Social Media Buddy Mentoring" (#hcsmbm)  at 12 CT, Wednesday May 1 st - (11 am MT, 10 am PT, 1pm ET, 6pm GMT, 7pm, CET)
Thank you so much to everyone who hung out with us last week during our brainstorm session. Looking back over the transcript  what jumps out, and to quote @JBBC ," is that this whole idea of developing a buddy mentoring system to help those who are in need of assistance to navigate social media sites for health care information", has really resonated with people and has started a really cool and interesting conversation. 

 @Mdigitalife  tweeted  @Naveen101 and myself a few days ago and said “how do we make this real?” , I think this is where we need to head next. There was a lot of chat last week about the start point for #some mentoring, and we agreed that it does have to be wound all the way back to off line in some cases, as some patients really are pretty much off line. We talked about mentoring up the platforms, for those already on social media but not getting all the benefits. There was a lot of interest in what Facebook – Twitter mentoring might look like. We also asked what about Health care providers? Where is their involvement in all this? There was a lot of agreement that it was a key factor in on boarding more patients to social media.

 There are so many strands to this conversation and so many ways to discuss further how we make it “ real” and help bring more patients in to the social media conversation and all it has to offer them.  Next week we want to take a piece of all of this and keep our objectives for the chat to how can doctors on board more patients? How do we support peer to peer mentoring?

This week’s chat questions come from the awesome @randy_chalfant, he put these together for us and if we share them now we hope some of you can start chewing on them before Wednesday.
Q1.  Everyone’s needs are different. What are the keys to identifying each patient’s needs?
Q2. What guidelines need to be developed to deliver meaningful and individualized support?
Q3. How can we categorize what a doctor and a mentor offer, to match patient’s individual needs?
Q4. How do we track progress and make adjustments when necessary

Hopefully we will start moving up a notch from brainstorming next week, and if you missed last week go check out #hcsmbm so ya can get up to speed before Wednesday. If you get any ideas before Wednesday throw them out and use the hash tag!

Thank you and big thanks to @topsurf @shumilne @JBBC @Naveen101 @randy_chalfant @audreybirt @pedal_india @HenrikeFH @jimcook1 @annemiekeh @lockeym @freshchapter @sfsurvivors @helnoble @allieemore @4breastcancer @cancer2gether @myelomateacher @cmaer @chimoose @mdigitalife

Continued Inspiration from all our awesome #communitys #LSCHAT #BCSM #BCCEU #HCSM - circle of  awesome hashtag community education.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just sayin...

We are advocates because we feel passionately about something, and we use our voices to try and help get stuff done. There is so little being done that every single one of our voices is as valuable as the next persons, and believe me there is more than enough room for every single voice, in fact we have so much room we could rent out places in the cancer community for advocates voices. 

What gets me and that is why I am sharing this today is that an advocates voice is a sacred voice and it should never be made to feel by anyone or any other organisation like it is doing the wrong thing, not saying the right thing or just  not as valuable as what they have to offer.
We are not in the school yard anymore.  I have worked in environments that looking back on it now my hair stands on end. There was a job I had not so long ago and I still can’t think about what happened without wincing. But they were jobs…jobs I didn’t feel that passionately about either, and hey who doesn’t run up against quite a bit of sh## in their working life at some point or another.

This is different though. The work we do as advocates is so important. It is so valuable and it is also important that we feel comfortable and free in the space so we can do our best work. I am still reading Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In at the moment and she talks about women ditching the Queen Bee mentality, she asks us as women to stop thinking there has to just be one woman on top to get anything done in this world, we need to start thinking about a hive, a busy hive full of productive equals empowering one another.

Taking gender out of it, this actually counts for all of us male and female, and there is a no more important time to make sure we  shape our thinking like this, when we look at our work in the cancer community. We need to have a hive mentality. There is so much to do and every thought, contribution, word, action and voice counts -  equally.

I am just sayin…